Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Pitching Analysis and Stacks for May 20th
Vegas Odds and probables courtesy of Pinnacle:
Chang-mo Koo, NC Dinos, $28 FD/$10,000 DK – At this point, it’s only fair to view Koo as the best pitcher in the KBO. Last season, Koo posted a massive 25.4% K rate and a 3.20 ERA/3.77 FIP. These are dominant marks at the KBO level. Through two starts this season, Koo has struck out 18 batters and hasn’t allowed a single run. It’s translated to a league leading 36.7% K rate. None of this is sustainable, even for a pitcher as talented as Koo, but ultimately his well above league average ability to generate strikeouts puts him in uncharted territory from a DFS standpoint. This matchup against the Doosan Bears is a difficult one in that the Bears are one of the better offenses in the league, but it’s also a matchup that features mostly left-handed batters. Koo is a lefty, which negates the platoon edge for most of this lineup, including their best bats, Jose Miguel Fernandez, Jae Hwan Kim and Jae Il Oh. While Koo is bound to regress, we still view him as the top pitching play on the board. We’re hoping that the price tag and matchup dilutes his ownership a bit. Pursue him across all formats.
Tyler Wilson, LG Twins, $26 FD/$7,500 DK; Dan Straily, Lotte Giants, $23 FD/$7,000 DK – Wilson is the second best pitching play in this slate but he has significantly more competition for that spot than Koo does for the top outright play. For example, depending on how you weigh things, you could argue that Dan Straily is the next best play at pitcher after Koo given his impressive start to the season. However, if you’re like us DailyRoto guys, you know that a bigger sample is needed, especially when you’re trying to project forward. And that’s where Tyler Wilson wins out, as we have two full seasons of data here. Wilson projects for a better ERA (3.23) than Straily (4.85) this season according to ZiPS. Straily (7.6) projects marginally ahead of Wilson (7.5) in the K/9 department. It’s likely that Straily ends up with a bigger K/9 than what ZiPS is projecting, especially in his first full season at the KBO. These batters haven’t seen his stuff and that will play in his favor. Wilson does have a 21.6% K rate season (2018) under his belt at the KBO but that’s very likely where he tops out. On the other hand, Wilson’s matchup against the Samsung Lions projects to be one of if not the most favorable one in the entire slate as they’re already the second worst team in the league and project as one of the weaker offenses rest of season. All things considered, Wilson is a slightly better play than Straily but the latter seems to have a bit more K upside in his profile moving forward.
Honorable mentions: Chris Flexen (DOO), Drew Gagnon (KIA) (massive 30.4% K rate through two starts; not sustainable but neither is his 6.07 ERA).
We’re not buying into Min Jae Jang’s start. Jang’s 5.58 career ERA is more telling than his first two starts to this season, though he did punch out 103 batters in 119 IP last season. Still, he’s easily one of the worst pitchers in this slate given his run prevention woes. Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW) and Baek Ho Kang (KTW) are the best bats in this lineup, but we can’t ignore the value that Woo Jun Sim (KTW) brings to the table. Sim is a shortstop that’s priced at $2,800 on DK and he’s leadoff hitter. Additionally, Sun Woo Jang (KTW), the team’s primary catcher, has gotten off to a hot start this season and he’s just $3,400 on DK. Catcher is typically a difficult position to evaluate and you will often punt it, but Jang’s reasonable cost and decent upside makes him a valuable part of this stack.
Let’s face it – if you’ve stacked the Wyverns to date you haven’t had much if any success. Thus far, they own the league’s worst record at 1-11. They’re really struggling to generate offense,and a big reason for that is their star, Jamie Romak (SK), hasn’t gotten off to a hot start (.764 OPS, 1 HR). This offense is going to wake up at some point and it’ll likely coincide with Romak getting it going at the plate. This feels like the spot where they can get back to generating strong offense. Opposing pitcher Seung-ho Lee is likely the worst starting pitcher in this slate. In 122 IP last season, Lee struck out 82 batters. He’s a contact pitcher that tends to keep the ball in the park. The best hitter in a SK Wyverns uniform this season and it hasn’t been close is Dong-min Han (SK). Han has posted a ridiculous 175 wRC+ in a very small sample (48 PAs). He also has a 41 home run season under his belt. If you’re planning on stacking the Wyverns today, Han must be included, especially when you consider that he’s plenty affordable on DK ($4,300).
After a disappointing series against the LG Twins, Kiwoom has gotten going early and often in this series against the SK Wyverns, scoring 9 and 11 runs respectively over the last two games. Opposing pitcher Jong Hoon Park is a submariner that is difficult to square up, but like most Korean-born pitchers, he struggles to miss bats. ByungHo Park (KIW) is still expensive around the industry and he’s been dreadful to date (61 wRC+), but keep in mind that we’re evaluating ridiculously small samples. In this particular instance, we’re talking about 54 PAs for Park. Over the last two full seasons at the KBO, Park has posted 184 and 160 wRC+ and he’s been a power machine (43 and 33 home runs respectively). Expect him to pick it up at the plate and soon. Jung Hoo Lee (KIW), Keon Chang Seo (KIW), Ha Seong Kim (KIW), and Dong Won Park (KIW) (likely the second best hitting catcher in the league) are other valuable stacking pieces.
Honorable mention: Preston Tucker (KIA) as a one-off or stacking the KIA Tigers against Dan Straily given his long track record of struggling with home runs at the MLB level.